The World Health Organization (WHO) has approved the emergency use of the first vaccine developed in Latin America with the scientific principle provided by AstraZeneca. The immunological is produced jointly by the Argentine company mAbxience, which reproduces its active pharmaceutical ingredient, and the Mexican Laboratorios Liomont, which formulates, fills and packages the product for distribution. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has welcomed the approval of this immunological, which will make it possible to have more vaccines in this region of the world, little favored by world laboratories.
“This is an important milestone for Latin America and highlights the importance of technology transfer to increase the availability of quality covid-19 vaccines in the region,” said PAHO Director Carissa F. Etienne. The biological has the international denomination ChAdOx1-S.
This AstraZeneca vaccine produced in Latin America is already used in some countries in the area, but the approval of the WHO “will facilitate its acquisition and distribution through the PAHO Revolving Fund, as well as Covax, the international mechanism to increase the access to vaccines against covid-19 worldwide ”, explains PAHO on its website.
The moment could not be more opportune, with a third wave of covid entering the countries of America, although the severity of the pandemic has not experienced a significant increase yet. “In the last week, the Americas reported more than 1.1 million new covid-19 infections, representing an increase of 6% in cases compared to the previous week,” says PAHO.
In Mexico City, one of the most affected in the previous pandemic stages, the cancellation of the Christmas festivities has been ruled out, but the behavior of hospital admissions is being monitored. The director of the city’s digital government, Eduardo Clark, admitted this Thursday that there is an increase in infections, but it is still “not out of control”, so “it is not possible to speak of an upward trend.” The green traffic light that allows normal life in all its areas continues in the city. And the government keeps its borders open without restrictions.
The omicron keeps half the world on guard these days, in the face of the sustained increase in infections and hospitalizations, although its deadly power seems to have decreased compared to previous variants. Some pulmonologists see in these data the remission of the disease, because in their understanding it is reaching levels that take it away from the danger of an epidemic.
Meanwhile, the third doses of the vaccine are being completed unevenly. In Latin America, a few countries “will probably not reach the WHO goal of vaccinating 40% of their population by the end of the year and many that barely exceed the 50% threshold for complete immunization against COVID-19,” according to the OPS.
“Boosting the regional capacity to produce vaccines is key to closing this gap”, stated Carissa F. Etienne. That is the reason that the organization is contracted for the emergency approval of the AstraZeneca elaborated between Mexico and Argentina. “If given the opportunity and the tools, our region can contribute to the supply of vaccines,” he stressed. “We remain committed to supporting our countries to increase the production of critical medicines, since the region can contribute significantly to solving the inequalities that we have seen so far,” he added in a statement.
Mexico also plans to release its own vaccine, Patria, next year. This was stated recently by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. A couple of days ago, the president requested the collaboration of citizens to carry out clinical trials with this biological that is being designed by the National Council of Science and Technology (Conacyt). López Obrador pointed to the opportunity for the unvaccinated to participate in these trials. The vaccine is, according to the leader, in its second phase of research. Meanwhile, the North American country continues with immunizing in its third dose of the elderly population and advances with the youngest.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.